Harland Miller 2010
I’ll Never Forget What I Can’t Remember

A book of Harland Miller’s watercolors.
Published by Reflex Editions Amsterdam.

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The artist and writer Harland Miller is known for his large-scale, playful reworkings of Penguin book covers. Miller takes much-loved book jackets of classic works by Hemmingway, Fitzgerald, Edgar Allen Poe and others as his starting point. By rendering them in oils at poster size with quirky new titles, he transforms them into contemporary, often satirical commentaries on life and literature. As with Californian artist, Ed Ruscha, it is words that set the tone in Miller’s work. Whether ironic, nostalgic, or downright cheeky – “Dirty Northern Bastard,” by DH Lawrence, or “I’m so Fucking Hard,” by Hemmingway – the titles demythologise and amuse in equal measure. Although a dedicated wordsmith, Miller is an irrepressibly painterly artist too: the bands of orange, or blue or green either side of the book’s title that make a Penguin cover so instantly recognisable, become emotive, textural colour fields here. With their dripping paint and smudgy blurring, they have more in common with the aesthetic of Rothko than the uniformity of a mass-produced paperback.Miller is attracted to books as objects – the more battered, stained and lived in the better.

Read more at Reflex Amsterdam.

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